Houston Astros had Alex Bregman on block during World Series season

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has come a long way but at one point he was on the trade block during the World Series season. What was the deal?

The Houston Astros made a damn-near perfect landing when the MLB trade deadline came to pass.  It was soft, eventful and was the object of affection of any team that didn’t have the guts to make a move like this team did.

They were able to add Zack Greinke as the centerpiece along with Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini to shore up their pitching depth.  Both Sanchez and Biagini were solid in their respective debuts.  These were fine additions to the team and although Greinke’s first appearance as a member of the Houston Astros last night was less than desired, I’d expect that to be more a one-off than something we’d expect out him regularly.

He has pitched to the Colorado Rockies more than 200 innings throughout his career and that includes 32.0 innings this season.  Their batters are familiar with him and it was unfortunate that they got the best of his goal to try to dominate out on the mound.

Nonetheless, Greinke has run support like no other pitcher in the MLB and the Houston Astros were still able to nab the W in a hotly-contested 11-6 win in front of a capacity crowd at the Juicebox.

Greinke will put this start behind him and I still see great things to happen for him as time goes by.  He’ll bounce back on his following start next week.

Well, enough about last night. 

But what if I told you that Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was on the trade block during the World Series season back in 2017?  Would you believe it?

Aside from not wanting to hear the name Francisco Liriano again, I could, because Bregs wasn’t the player then that he is today and that’s understandable.

But according to a report from Detroit Free Press’ scribe Anthony Fenech, the Houston Astros were trying to acquire starting pitching and Bregman was part of a package that would’ve landed the team Michael Fulmer and lefty reliever Justin Wilson.

I recall that Wilson was heavily implicated in rumors with the Houston Astros and I even wrote a piece or two about it back then.  But landing Fulmer, who was a flame-throwing hurler who just closed out a successful Rookie of the Year campaign followed by an All-Star season sounded like it would’ve been an even exchange for what the team needed at the time.

But it’s all about having that 20/20 hindsight.  Would Bregman have ever broken out if he ended up in a Tigers’ uniform?  And would the Houston Astros have traded for Justin Verlander a month later had they been successful in landing Fulmer and Wilson?

I’d have to say that their World Series candidacy would be jeopardy had this trade been made.  I honestly don’t think the team would’ve made the move for Verlander, especially if Fulmer and Wilson had turned out to perform well for the team.

Verlander was the guy that helped make their World Series happen, there’s absolutely no way they win in 2017 without the strong pitching coming from the future Hall of Famer.

Fulmer has been riddled with injuries since then and he’s on the shelf until early next season after undergoing surgery on his elbow.  He’s still with the Tigers but I wonder if Al Avila regrets making that trade.

Wilson was traded in that same 2017 deadline to the Chicago Cubs, he spent two seasons there before signing with the New York Mets this season as a free agent.

Wilson is still solid, sporting a 2.61 ERA with 19 strikeouts to six earned runs through 20.2 innings pitched in 2019.  But things have been a slow-go for him as he’s battled elbow injuries throughout this season, which explains his minute body of work.

As it seems like we’re channeling a Back to the Future II scene where the timeline spewed into another tangent, creating an alternate reality, I love how things actually panned out.

Bregman evolved into a star, he won the All-Star MVP in 2018 while collecting $100 million along the way.  Verlander was also rewarded with a massive two-year extension worth $66 million earlier this year as well.

It’s hard to fathom how badly Jeff Luhnow could’ve missed that trade deadline but it offers me the

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opportunity to respect him even more for always swinging for the fences if the opportunity is there.

And besides — another case could be made that Fulmer and Wilson stay healthy as they’d be working with the best pitching coach in the business in Brent Strom where there would be a strategy to not wear their arms out as quickly.  He’s so great at finding player’s strengths, coaching them to their highest potential with exponential success out on the mound.

But one thing’s for sure — Bregman will be around with the Houston Astros for a long time and Verlander will — mark my words — retire with this team being the last he pitches for.  He may be around longer as he’s continued to say that he wants to be the Tom Brady of baseball.  That’s fine with me — load me up another serving of that!

Next. Astros: Three thoughts on the heist of the 2019 trade deadline. dark

To encapsulate my feelings of what could’ve been, I’ll close with the iconic phrase of the illustrious yet fictional character, Emmett “Doc” Brown…

“Great Scott!”

Let’s win another World Series title — go Houston Astros!